T lymphocyte killing by a xanthine-oxidase-containing immunotoxin

M. G. Battelli, A. Abbondanza, P. L. Tazzari, A. Bolognesi, R. M. Lemoli, F. Stirpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report on the preparation of an immunotoxin consisting of xanthine oxidase, a free-radicalproducing enzyme, covalently linked to an anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody. The immunotoxin retained both enzymic and immunological properties and its toxicity to target cells (a) was greater than that of the free enzyme, (b) was proportional to the enzyme concentration, and (c) was reduced either in the absence of hypoxanthine or by an excess of free anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody. The cytotoxicity and selectivity of the hypoxanthine/conjugated xanthine oxidase system were potentiated by the addition of chelated iron and by washing away the unbound immunotoxin prior to the addition of substrate. The same system was not toxic to bone marrow progenitor cells. A possible use of this immunotoxin for the ex vivo purging of organs to be transplanted from T lymphocytes, to avoid the graft-versus-host reaction, is suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-425
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1992


  • Anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody
  • Immunotoxin
  • Xanthine oxidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Immunology
  • Cancer Research


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